Friday, October 29, 2010

This Town Takes Halloween Very Seriously

Nine years ago I was witness to the most elaborate school based celebration of Halloween in the history of public education. Growing up a mere 25 miles away from the town which I now live and work, one would think that maybe I would have been exposed to such grand festivities However, such is not the case. In my first year at CCES, I was awestruck at the lengths staff, students, and parents went to celebrate this holiday. Let me provide a brief explanation in bullet form:

  • students were dismissed from school at roughly 11 am where they went home, ate lunch, and changed into their costumes (as the only fast food restaurant in town, McDonald's was a place to avoid at all costs)
  • by 12:45, all students were to be back in their classroom. This was the trickiest part of the day for non-classroom based staff who were asked to man the front tables, serving as 1)blockade from any parents not on the volunteer list and 2)runners for delivering treats. I can not begin to explain the tenacity some of these parents displayed at wanting to get down to their child's classroom for "just one quick picture".
  • At 1 pm, students began streaming out of the south door of the school in an orderly line class by class. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, babysitters, and anyone else who may or may not know a child in one of those classroom would line the streets as the students paraded more than eight blocks around the school. Cameras of every shape and size would go off like crazy and you were almost deafened by the sound of "Over here! Look at me! SMILE!".
  • This parade was escorted by a police car and the middle school band.
  • After the students walked by the first time, those parents on the beginning end of the parade route would travel in herd formation to the opposite side of the building to watch them finish the parade route.
  • The remainder of the day would be spent in classroom parties, loading up on sugar and playing fun games until the bell rang at 3 pm.
In recent years, primarily since our K-3 building was split into two separate locations, the fanfare has dwindled a bit. We no longer dismiss early; instead kids change into costumes at school as I was always accustomed to. The number of spectators lining the streets has dropped dramatically mostly because our enrollment has been cut in half with the grade level split (note: this is not the case at the ECC where numbers of spectators are high, where they bringing their own lawn chairs and some are forced to park upwards of half a mile away from the school for a 15 minute parade). The band no longer leads the way, and they instead merely walk across the street to perform during the Early Childhood Center's festivities. It still is a grand event, though, and it's one of the things I look forward to the most during the school year. The sight of 320 costumed children, beaming from ear to ear and nearly giddy with excitement, warms my heart.


Our appropriately festive Spanish teacher. Ole!

Of course with a child in school now, I had to hit up two parades in one day. Even cuter than watching a bunch of second and third graders in disguise? Preschool, kindergartners, and first graders. Adorableness infinity.


Initially excited about the parades, Punkin was sort of over it while waiting for her sister's school to unveil their costumes. She was also highly disturbed by the fake gorilla outfit worn by one of the band members.

Shortcake, on the other hand, exited the school beaming and the smile didn't fade until long after we arrived back home. To say that this Halloween week was much happier than last is an understatement of grand proportions.


Now it's on to even more celebrating with the seventh annual Hurloween, a kids' party tomorrow afternoon, and trick-or-treating to end the day. Something tells me Monday morning is going to be rough.

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